Carbon-ion beam irradiation with cisplatin may stop the growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Researchers at one of the world’s most experienced carbon ion therapy centers in Chiba, Japan shared that conclusion in a new article in the American Journal of Cancer Research.
New Treatment Strategy
Carbon-ion beam irradiation is a new treatment strategy for different cancer types. It has been used to treat cancer in patients for almost 30 years. It involves using a particle accelerator to pummel a tumor with DNA-damaging carbon ions.
Unlike conventional radiation, carbon ion therapy carries a lower risk of damaging healthy surrounding tissues since most of the energy is scattered as soon as the particles hit the cancer cells.
This could be especially useful for people with MPM since their tumors are close to vital organs like the lungs and heart. These tumors develop many decades after exposure to asbestos and have a high mortality rate.
Stop Tumor Growth
In this experiment, the researchers looked at what happened to tumor growth with carbon-ion beam irradiation alone and in combination with cisplatin. Cisplatin is a common chemotherapy drug used to treat mesothelioma and other cancers.
Tumors that were treated with only carbon-ion beam irradiation did show 90% less growth than untreated tumors. But they began growing again 17 weeks after radiation.
Tumors treated with carbon-ion beam irradiation and cisplatin stopped growing and even shrank in size. The researchers noticed that the tumors would still grow back after a few weeks, so they tried increasing the carbon-ion beam irradiation.
The researcher ultimately found a combination of carbon-ion beam irradiation and cisplatin that resulted in complete regression of the tumor with no regrowth.
If mesothelioma patients want to try carbon-ion beam irradiation therapy, they will have to travel. Although the technology was developed in the 1970s at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, there are not yet any centers in the United States that are using it.
However, that will change in the next few years. The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida is currently building the United States’ first carbon-ion beam irradiation therapy center.
Sai, Sei, Taiju Yamada, Keiko Ito, Nobuyuki Kanematsu, Masao Suzuki, Mitsuhiro Hayashi, and Masashi Koto. “Carbon-ion beam irradiation in combination with cisplatin effectively suppresses xenografted malignant pleural mesothelioma.” American Journal of Cancer Research 12, no. 12 (2022): 5657. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9827089/